Sunday, May 1, 2016


EHS (Emergency Health Services) is the provider of ambulance services in Nova Scotia. They use a standardized Ford E-350 with Tri-Star modular body, and there is little variation between front line ambulances. Incidentally the ambulances are leased from Tri-Star. On completion of the lease each one is refurbed and exported.
Tri-Star Industries Ltd, located in Yarmouth, NS, builds ambulances and other vehicles that are used around the world.

There  is also variety of ancillary vehicles, but the ones closest resembling regular ambulances are Patient Transfer Units. They do not have the same red lights, but the modular body is similar.

In the last few days I have seen a different ambulance, and this one is built on a Freightliner crew cab chassis with Tri-Star body. Numbered CC1, it is classed as a Critical Care Transport, but has been pressed into service with the LifeFlight helicopter service.

There are helicopter pads on the roofs of the IWK Health Centre (women's and children's hospital) and the Halifax Infirmary of the Queen Elizabeth II Health Centre (general hospital). However if weather conditions or other circumstances do not permit roof landings, there is a ground pad between Point Pleasant Park and the Halterm container terminal.

Since April 1, the current EHS LifeFlight Sikorsky helicopter has been forbidden from using the roof top pads due to lack of certification and it will have to be replaced. In the meantime (up to 9 months) it will be using the Point Pleasant pad.

The Critical Care Transport CC1 is being used as the shuttlke ambulance between the helo pad and the hospitals (a trip estimated by the press as 15 minutes - but I reckon to be closer to 10 or less)

Equipped with a suite of shrieking electronic sirens and flashing lights, it is without doubt the most visible and audible ambulance in Nova Scotia. (The red roof strobes were too fast for my camera.)
Amid all the white reefer boxes in the container terminal this one does stand out.


Except for on board equipment and doors, Patient Transport Units are essentially the same as regular ambulances. Aside for the red lights on the ambulances, it is hard to tell them apart from a distance.
(PTU at left, 400 series Ambulance at right)

Older PTUs had a sheet metal cab extension. Although the panel followed the contours of the cab door, it may have been a Tri-Star add-on.

The 300 series ambulances are gradually being replaced with 400s.

Sikorsky S-76A wears call letters C-GIMN and dates from 1980.

Wedged in between the Halterm container terminal (right) and Point Pleasant Park and surrounded by power lines, the pad is also right on the shoreline. I doubt that it will be tenable in some of the fog condiotns we get in June and July. In this 2015 photo an ambulance waits at the gate for the helo to land.


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